A new plaque honoring World War II veterans is to be unveiled at the University of Maine on July 1. Photo courtesy of the University of Maine

ORONO — A plaque honoring World War II veterans is to be unveiled at the University of Maine at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 1, in an outdoor ceremony at the site of UMaine’s World War II Memorial Garden.

The plaque is to enhance the existing Memorial Garden, which recognizes the “Greatest Generation,” and all those who fought in WWII, including more than 3,970 UMaine faculty, staff and students.

University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy will kick off the unveiling ceremony by highlighting the contributions of military veterans to UMaine.

Several WWII veterans from Maine will be in attendance and honored at the event, including Don Gallupe, a gunner on a P-61 Black Widow night fighter who became a unit commander in 1943 at the age of 18; Marion “Rud” Rudnicki, a member of the Army corps stationed in post-war occupied Germany; and former Marine George Newhall, a well-known troop greeter who has welcomed many soldiers to Bangor as they returned from international deployments.

Veteran Carmine Pecorelli — a Navy petty officer who served as a radarman and on a minesweeper in WWII, fought in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and ended his military career as a sergeant major with the Army’s Special Forces in 1967 — will offer brief remarks following his recognition.

UMaine’s Army and Navy ROTC units will participate in the ceremony along with staff from UMaine’s Office of Veterans Education and Transition Services and the UMaine Veteran Advisory Committee. Faculty and staff from the Maine Business School provided administrative support for soliciting crowd-sourced funds to cover the purchase and installation of the plaque and for organizing the public unveiling ceremony.

The plaque, which depicts American troops landing at Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944, will be installed adjacent to the existing garden in front of the Memorial Union prior to the ceremony. Attendees and visitors to the memorial can also view three plaques displayed in the Memorial Room of the Union that acknowledge each of UMaine’s 262 fallen soldiers.

In addition, a digital Book of Memory with photos and biographies remembers all those from UMaine who gave their lives in military service to the U.S. beginning with the Spanish-American war in 1898.

The public unveiling ceremony is free and open to the public, and will be conducted in accordance with CDC safety guidelines. Light refreshments will be provided after the ceremony.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Nory Jones at [email protected].

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